How Anne Spent an Hour on Friday...

Allison's stuffed Wishy (what she calls her Wish Bear Care Bear) broke her leg. I'm not sure how that happened. Anyway, we placed a band-aid on the leg, and then wrapped her leg with medical tape to make a cast. This took about 10 minutes. Then we nursed Wishy back to health. This took another 10 minutes. After her leg was healed, we needed to remove the tape. The tape worked too well and was stuck to all the fur on her leg. I needed to carefully cut through the tape and remove tiny pieces at a time in order for it to come off. This took about 40 minutes. Now, Wishy is all better.


Sugar and spice

I am learning that God gives us little boys to show us who we could become, or who we could have been. A boy looks up to his Dad and believes, for a time, that Dad is the greatest. I say, that kind of thinking can be contagious!

If boys are given to show us what we could be, then God gives us little girls to show us who we really are. Case in point:

We try to teach the kids that there is a difference between "like" and "love". Love is a long-time word, based on commitment and trust. "Like" is a circumstantial word; therefore we always love someone, even if we don't always like them at the time.

Anne and Allison were out the other day when Allison said, "Sometimes I don't like Dad." Anne, a little taken aback, told her that that wasn't a very nice thing to say about Dad. Allison's reply: "Well Mom, he makes the house kind of stinky sometimes. You know, like when he gets home from running, or when he is sleeping."

As Anne recounted this for me at dinner, I looked over at Allison, feigning surprise. Without hesitation she said, "It's OK, Dad, I still love you."


Woe is me!

This winter and spring has been a great time for our family in every way. Our marriage is in great shape after ten years, the kids are amazing, fun, smart, beautiful - and God has blessed us in uncountable ways over the last few months. Except...

I am falling apart.

I don't mean to complain, and I am not, but it has taken me 32 years to come to grips with getting older. I was surprised to wake up one day recently and discover that I am not 19 anymore. I cannot eat anything I want, at any time, in any quantity (although I usually do); I cannot neglect exercise and still get fitter anyway; I have had a series of times 'losing my train of thought,' where I will literally forget what I am saying as I am saying it; and more. The human body does wind down over time, does it not?

Case in point: Anne and I are training again this year for the Portland Marathon on October 7. In order to have a huge head start, I started training in January. I modestly increased my weekly mileage by three miles each week, which is normal, and began to get fit again. I even grew to appreciate running in 35 degree rain - not an easy sell for a soft creature like me.

In mid-February, 19-year-old Adam was running along comfortably for twelve miles when 32-year-old Adam decided to steal the show. The resulting calf-ankle injury made walking an iffy proposition for two or three days. I prudently cut back my miles, iced the affected area, and after about four weeks was ready to begin easing into training again, when...

Taking advantage of a sunny Saturday to work outside, I stepped on a nail (better, a "spike") that went about 1/4 inch into my injured foot. Once again, walking was interesting for a few days. After resting it for about a week, I was once more ready to head out when...

I got hit with a nasty cold. 19-year-old Adam got sick maybe once a year. 32-year-old Adam has been sick twice in 2007 alone. And EVERY cold symptom this was present this time, not one of those puny "sniffles colds".

Today saw me feeling better and ready again to head out, when...

I had to get immunized for a trip I will be taking soon (details to come) - the full spectrum: Hep A and B, Typhoid, Polio, Tetanus - everything somebody would need for travel in Africa (seriously, details will come).

I apparently fall into the 30% of people who have a mildly serious reaction to the shots: fever, dizzyyyytrkm (just kidding), runny nose...basically my cold has found new allies in the antibodies the nurse gave me.

So, when will I run again? It needs to be soon, because my appetite revved up back in early February when I was still 19, but my clothes are starting to fit me like I am 32.


Sunny Sunday

Spring has sprung in Portland, and we are enjoying every minute of it.

Our New Driveway

Thanks to the IRS, and the wonderful lady who does our taxes, we now have a brand new paved driveway. For those of you who don't know, our driveway used to be gravel (which is not all that uncommon around here) and it had served us well the last four years. However, once we were aware of the amount of our tax return, we began shopping around for the best estimate from a local paving company. Not only did one company bid lower than we expected, they were also out to begin work the same week. It has been a joy to watch the kids ride their bikes, play basketball and enjoy sidewalk chalk. The work crew provided a few days of entertainment also!


Book recommendation

I just finished reading Thomas Cahill's "The Gifts Of The Jews". It is one of the best books I have read in a long time, and I thought I would pass it on. The book is about the contribution of the Judeo-Christian tradition to Western society, and by extension, the world.

The book walks through the Jewish Bible (Christian Old Testament) and shows how everything in our worldview today can be traced back to Abraham's journey out of Ur in ancient Sumer. Up to that time people viewed life, and the world, as cyclical and unchanging. When God showed Himself to Abraham, suddenly life became a journey, with a past, present, and future, all being guided by the hand of God and experienced in the moment by people. This type of thinking, argues Cahill, was nonexistent before Abraham, and as the Hebrew worldview developed over the centuries, the world changed into what it is today.

Without going into too much detail, I offer a great quote:

"Unbelievers might wish to stop for a moment and consider how completely God - this Jewish God of justice and compassion - undergirds all our values and that it is just possible that human effort without this God is doomed to certain failure. Humanity's most extravagant dreams are articulated by the Jewish prophets...All who share this dream of universal brotherhood, peace, and justice, who dream the dreams and see the visions of the great prophets, must bring themselves to contemplate the possibility that without God there is no justice."

And another, speaking of the power of the Ten Commandments:

"Even as far away from Sinai in time and civilization as Hampstead Heath at the turn of the century or Central Park at the turn of the millennium, there are few who do not know that if we were to keep these commandments our world would be an entirely different place. This is such a simple, incontestable thing to say that it sounds banal. But for all our resourcefulness we have never yet managed to do it."

I can't recommend this book enough, especially in light of the growing conviction among those outside the church that Christianity and all religion has been nothing more than a hindrance to 'progress' throughout the centuries. Cahill's book puts that criticism to rest thoroughly and elegantly.


Alex and Allison

It has been awhile since we posted pictures of the kids. We thought that you would enjoy these....


Practical atheism

A couple weeks ago I posted about atheism and the view among scientists as to whether or not they believed in God or a "higher power", as opposed to claiming strict atheism. My friend Will (who has a curiously detailed understanding of Taco Bell and its workings) mentioned that atheism is becoming more acceptable as a world view.

He is in fact correct. It is becoming easier and trendier for people to label themselves atheists. One facet of this is the growing phenomenon of the "practical atheist". This is a person who is a part of a religious institution out of habit or heritage, that is impacted little or not at all at the personal level by the teachings of their religion. For example, a person that grows up in church but never really internalizes the teachings of the church, never cultivates a relationship with Christ, and lives a life that is no different than a non-member of a church, could be called a practical atheist. For all practical purposes, they may believe in God in their head, but in their life it makes no difference.

More and more of these people are realizing that if their religious heritage has no real bearing on their lives, than their lives would be easier without it. So, they are declaring themselves "atheist", or agnostic at least. Even if one of them would not formally declare themself an atheist, they would probably admit that God is not to be found in their life.

This speaks to the urgency of parents and church leaders to help cultivate the relationship with Jesus Christ that is at the heart of the Gospel. Although I would not wish anyone to leave their church tradition if they found it unuseful, who could blame them? I understand completely why they would do so. The fact is, it is much easier to discard a regiment than it is to discard a relationship. I start working out and then quit about five times each year. But I have never left my wife once in ten years.

To leave a relationship requires the counting of the cost of broken ties, hurt feelings, and the tarnishing of memories and experiences together, not to mention loneliness and regret. Sadly, for so many people, church is no more useful to them than a crash diet or an exercise gadget. And what, ultimately, could be more useful than a relationship with the creator and sustainer of all things?


Sorry it's been some time since our last posting. Blogspot recently changed hands (bought by Google) and we have had some difficulty logging into the site. Hopefully we'll get it figured out and have more stories to tell. Thanks for your patience!